Ohioans would be automatically registered to vote when renewing their driver’s license, signing up for public assistance or turning 18, under a bill introduced in the Ohio House. Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent Democrat, said voter registration should be easy and that automatically enrolling people would encourage higher voter participation. “There are endless ways to use voter registration rules to deter and confuse voters, and we need to take away this weapon of voter oppression,” Clyde said during a Thursday press conference. Under House Bill 14, people would be automatically registered to vote if they’ve received veterans’ or disability services or public assistance through the Department of Job and Family Services and when they get a driver’s license or state ID card. Public and private school students would be registered when they turn 18.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Ohio: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections chooses Tenex as electronic poll book vendor | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cuyahoga County voters will check in on electronic poll books beginning in November, using equipment from Tenex Software Solutions. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections unanimously approved the purchase on Tuesday, following a recommendation by director Pat McDonald and his staff at its meeting last month. The board authorized officials to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the company, state and county, McDonald said in an email. The board will buy 1,450 electronic poll books at a cost of $1.7 million. The state is paying 85 percent of the cost. Electronic poll books will replace the large, paper rosters of registered voters at each voting location. The county plans to phase in the software during primary and special elections before launching them countywide in November.
A special election with just one candidate on the ballot cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, and some state lawmakers are trying to prevent that from ever happening again. Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, hopes passage of a new state law will avoid what he called the future waste of taxpayer money on special elections that involve just one candidate on the ballot. The proposal, which Koehler co-sponsored, arose last year when Democratic 8th District candidate Corey Foister dropped out of the race. A special election was required to pick a replacement, but only one Democrat, Steven Fought, stepped forward to run. Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said the resulting Sept. 13 special election was mandated by law, and local boards had no choice.
About 7,500 voters who were purged from Ohio voter registration rolls from 2011-2014 but were then reinstated at the order of a federal judge last year showed up and voted in the 2016 presidential election. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted made that admission today in announcing his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of a lower court case that threw out the state’s voter registration maintenance process. “While partisan activists have asserted that up to 2 million voters had been wrongfully removed from the voter rolls, data from the 2016 Presidential Election returned only 7,500 ballots cast by those removed after election officials were not able to contact them,” Mr. Husted said in a news release from his office. Mr. Husted said he filed the appeal to justify the state’s ”accurate and up-to-date voter rolls.”
Two Statehouse bills in the last legislative session that would have prevented a recurrence of a one-candidate special congressional primary — which cost taxpayers more than $340,800 — didn’t have the time for the Ohio House to take action. Now similar bills will be introduced by next month in the new legislative session. “That’s a lot of money for an uncontested race,” said Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, who will jointly sponsor a new bill with Ohio Rep. Dorothy Pelanda. Retherford attempted to introduce a similar bill last year, but Pelanda’s was introduced first. Pelanda, R-Marysville, called that “a very unique circumstance” and introduced a bill just days after Ohio Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson introduced a similar bill.
Ohio: Should Election Systems be a Top Priority in U.S. Cybersecurity Right Now? | Columbus Dispatch
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted disapproves of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to designate voting machines and other aspects of the election process as in need of urgent cybersecurity assistance. “This was an altogether unnecessary move,” Husted said in an emailed statement. The Republican said the move constitutes “an unprecedented federal overstep” in the state’s right to administer elections. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Friday that election software and hardware would be designated as “critical infrastructure,” which gives state elections officials the opportunity to request cybersecurity services including assistance in response to cyberattacks. Designated election infrastructure includes storage facilities, polling places, voter registration databases, voting machines, and any systems used to manage, report and display election processes and results. Husted, who publicly opposed the move when it was broached in September, said, “I will continue to work with the new administration and leaders in Congress to ensure this does not represent an intrusion by the federal government into state election systems — systems that have served us well for over 200 years.”
Ohio: Justices turn down appeal from Libertarians tossed from 2014 Ohio ballot | The Columbus Dispatch
Rejecting an appeal from the Ohio Libertarian Party, the U.S. Supreme Court appears to have put an end to a three-year legal battle over whether elected officials in the state conspired to keep two Libertarian candidates off the 2014 statewide ballot. Without comment Monday, the justices upheld a decision last year by both a federal appeals court in Cincinnati and a federal judge in Columbus that Gov. John Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted did not violate the U.S. Constitution when they removed Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl and attorney-general candidate Steven Linnabary from the ballot. Joshua Eck, a Husted spokesman, said “once again, the court has clearly stated that the secretary is properly enforcing Ohio law. There is a clear path for establishing a political party in this state, which has been endorsed by the courts multiple times and even successfully utilized by other political groups.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to redesign how Ohio draws its congressional boundaries through an unusual vehicle: the new state budget to be rolled out late this month. While voters in 2015 overwhelmingly approved a ballot issue enacting a new method to draw state legislative districts to reduce gerrymandering and increase political competitiveness, the recrafting of U.S. House districts has languished. The second-term Republican said he will ask majority GOP lawmakers to “do the same thing as done with legislative districts” in adjusting a House-redistricting scheme that has helped Republicans achieve a 12-4 majority with Democrats restricted to four “can’t-lose” districts. “They were going to drop it out as not germane (to the state budget),” Kasich said this afternoon in an apparent reference to legislative leaders. “If they want to drop it out as not germane, let them do it.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has a New Year’s resolution he wants to see Ohioans make: register online to vote. And that can goal can be completed as soon as the Times Square Ball completes its New Year’s Eve descent. “It’s another positive step in trying to improve elections in America,” said Husted. “So when it strikes midnight, raise your glass in champagne, give a toast and register to vote.” Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 63 this past summer, which authorizes the state to implement online voter registration, and it will be live at midnight on Jan. 1 on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. “It eliminates another excuse for not voting,” he said. “Nobody can say it’s too hard. You don’t have to leave home to participate in Ohio democracy now.”
Ohioans can register to vote online starting Jan. 1, an effort that could save the state millions of dollars, according to Secretary of State Jon Husted. Currently 31 states and Washington, D.C., allow voters to register online. “Raise a glass of champagne, offer a toast, get online and register to vote,” Husted said in a statement Tuesday. Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 63, allowing online registration, back in June, but it is just now taking effect in time for the upcoming local elections in 2017. The decision was made not to have the law take effect before the 2016 presidential election. “The world is moving online,” state Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, said on Tuesday. “More and more people look to do as much of their business online as they can because it’s convenient.”